This weekend, we headed up to Lion Country Safari with the kids. I had actually gone with them last year and we had enjoyed ourselves, so we decided to do it again since we didn't want to spend the weekend watching Netflix. In case you haven't heard of it, Lion Country Safari is a drive-through zoo attraction located in Loxahatchee, FL. It's about an hour and fifteen minutes north of Miami. There is a campground, the drive through safari, and then a theme/water park attached. I have only ever done the drive-through safari, which is what is open right now.
We purchased our tickets online ($19 plus tax per person - kids 2 and under do not need to pay) on Friday for our visit on Saturday. Tickets are sold through Eventbrite, which you can access on their website. I printed them out at home, but I didn't need to do that. Once we arrived at the admission gate, which has a plexiglass panel between you and the attendant, they asked us for the name on the reservation, confirmed we had purchased our tickets, and waved us through. As soon as you drive in, there are restrooms and a snack stand in a parking lot off to the right hand side. We stopped to use the restroom, which is manned by an attendant - everyone wore their masks, the doors are left propped open to minimize touching surfaces, and everything felt very clean. We did not purchase anything from the snack stand, but it was open.
Once you drive in, the drive-through safari part is about an hour/hour and a half. We arrived around 10:30 and there were a good amount of cars, but we never had to wait. While you are in the drive-through safari, you can NOT get out of the car. You cannot open the windows, and there is nowhere to stop and use the restroom/eat/etc.
The last time I went, we were given a CD to play while we drove through and a pamphlet to follow along during each area, but to limit the amount of contact, they ask you to stream the audio through their website and to read about the animals on their site. You can find the guide here and the audio here.
There are a lot of animals to see. All the animals were out and about - some of them we had to look closely for, and others came right up to our car. An ostrich passed right by us, a rhino crossed the road two cars in front of us, and we saw two impala fighting right by the road. The kids loved it and were bouncing around the car from window to window the entire time.
Once you leave the drive through, you can get down to use the restroom again or visit the gift shop (we didn't do this). There is also a large parking lot where you can stop to buckle the kids back in to their car seats, pick up any messes they made during the safari, etc. Overall, it's a really safe experience and the kids truly enjoyed it. It took up the entire morning and the kids napped for the majority of the ride back, which is always a good thing!
I put up a question box for you all on Instagram, and here were some of the questions you had!
Are there educational or interactive aspects for older kids?
I think the audio tour and the brochure are really good for older kids. Eddie and I were the ones reading and listening and then translating for Caleb. But for older kids who can read, it would probably be good for them to read up on some of the animals as you're entering each section and then identify them while you're in there!
Was it a long wait time to drive through?
Not at all! We didn't wait to get in at all, and once we were inside we went slowly through some attractions behind other cars (where animals are gathered, people tend to slow down, stop, take pics).
Did you make any stops? Did the kids get fussy in the car for such a long time (travel time included)?
After the drive up from Miami, we stopped to use the restroom. But that's all. My kids do really well in the car and on road trips. They are used to being in the car for extended periods.
Worth the drive?
I think it depends on your kids! If they like animals, definitely worth it. I can't think of anywhere else where the animals are so close to the car!
Potty situation for a pregnant woman? Too full on a weekend?
We were there early, and when we arrived at the restrooms, there was a steady in/out of people, but nobody was lingering. They have an attendant for the bathroom and marks on the floor to maintain distance, but remember you cannot stop or get out of the car during the actual safari part.
Did it keep Chloe's attention or did she get antsy?
Between the snacks and the animals, her attention was held! She went back and forth from the backseat to my lap, but it was fine!
Is there a long wait time to reserve tickets? I checked last month and you had to reserve far out.
We bought our tickets on Friday morning for Saturday, and there were people purchasing their tickets right outside the gate (on their cell phones), so I think it should be fine.
Lots of animals?
Do you have to have any contact with anyone at the entrance to check in?
Nope! They are in their guard house and there is a piece of plexiglass in front of them.
Were you concerned that the animals could damage your car?
It honestly never crossed my mind, but I guess it's an inherent risk. While we were there, we did see some of the staff trucks and one of them looked like a rhino had charged into it - which I guess is a very real possibility lol) but we never felt concerned for that.
Do you have to stay in the car the whole time?
During the safari, YES.
How long is the drive through the park?
1 - 1.5 hours.
If you head Lion Country Safari, let me know if you use any of these tips and how they work out for you!
The last four and a half months have been hard on everyone. There are stresses of all kinds, there’s not much relief, someone is always underfoot. But it’s really important to find ways to give yourself a break, and for most of us, the spa isn’t really a feasible option right now. I'm sharing 10 ways I give myself a break - whether it's with or without the kids.
I hope these give you some ideas of ways you can get a mental break without spending much (if anything), and while keeping yourself and your family safe.
I've talked before about how I have had to learn how to manage curly hair because mine has always been pin straight. I LOVE Chloe's hair, and I have always said that her hair embodies her personality. The crazier her mood, the crazier her hair. I wouldn't change a thing about her, but I've definitely done some reading about taking care of her curly hair because I want to teach her to love and embrace her curls.
So here is what I do to take care of her hair.
And that's it! It's easier than I thought! I just had to take the time to learn. I hope this helps some of you out there who have little ones with curly hair!
Aside from reading books, I'm constantly reading really interesting articles I find floating around the internets. I don't often share them anywhere, because there's not really a super easy way to share them. But I figured I'd share a couple that I have found interesting in the last couple days here!
If you read any interesting articles, send them my way, and maybe I'll share them here!
I was recently asked by a follower and emerging blogger how I stay organized. The truth is, I work really hard at being organized, and actually, I probably waste some time each day just trying to "get organized" instead of actually doing what I need to do. But over the last few months, with less to do and more time to work on things like this, I started to put a system in place to help me stay organized.
Right now, there are three main tools I have been using to keep myself organized.
My iPhone's Calendar App
I have always used my calendar app, and recently Eddie and I started sharing a calendar and anything that we both need to know about goes on there. I use this mostly for events and things that require physical presence, school events and important dates - birthdays, vacations, things like that. We include work events, my shoots, and appointments. Lately this is looking a little sparse, but I'm okay with that!
A Paper Planner
I am and always have been a paper girl. I love to physically write, use pens, stickers, and all those silly things. It's another way I decompress, I guess. I use my physical planner to map out what my week looks like, to plan out blog posts, and to have a "picture" of what everything looks like together. This is where I keep due dates for campaigns, blog posts, where I write notes from calls I've taken, and most recently, I had been including all of our zoom calls on there. I have been using Erin Condren for a few years, but I decided to switch over to the Blessed is She planner starting in August. It has an hourly breakdown per day, plus note pages for each week, a place to make a grocery list, meal planning, and prayer reminders. (Blessed is She is a network of Catholic women - they have a daily devotional e-mail you can subscribe to and they sell products, like this planner). I have been very happy with my Erin Condren planners, but was looking for an added way to boost my prayer life, which is why I made this switch.
Thanks to my friend Marylin, I recently discovered how functional Trello is and I've created several boards for some categories I found helpful. I have a board for general to-do's, one for sponsored blog partnerships, and one for blogging in general. In Trello, you create columns, and under each column you add cards. Within each card you can add attachments, checklists, due dates, and labels. You can easily move cards from one column to another, so cards can go from an "Idea" column to an "In Progress" column and make their way to when they are complete! I am currently using a free account and still have plenty of functionality. What I like about this is that it can be used across all my devices so if I have an idea I can just add it, even if I am on the go. It has really come in handy during my consistency challenge in July!
I think organization is such a personal thing. It looks different for everyone, and each of our brains works differently. These are just some of the tools I use and have found to work for me. I've tried a lot of different strategies, but for now, this is what I have found that just works best for me and my needs.
Have you used any of these tools? Is there something else that you have found that works really well for you? Let me know in the comments below!
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